Goody Bag or Quicky Sex Change Operation?

>> Friday, June 13, 2008

“What about the goody bags?”

That’s Michael. He’s disappointed because I didn’t mention my goody bag debacle in The Big 5.0. All I can say it that we all know I don’t have a good history with goody bags, so what happened is probably just bad karma for dissing them in the past.

On Monday, Elizabeth celebrated her birthday at school. They do a nice job for birthdays. Elizabeth made a list of 8 friends to sit with her at the festive birthday table. One by one Elizabeth called out the names of her friends and one by one they ran up to her, a la The Price is Right, hugged her, and ran to the table. Eventually, all the children were seated and the singing and cupcake-eating ensued.

(I won’t go into how awful it must be for the kids who never get picked. Let’s just say I feel their pain...)

After eating, Elizabeth called out each child’s name (every kid in the class -- not just the privileged eight) and handed them their goody bags. There was more hugging and the occasional peck on the cheek.

Here’s where I screwed up.

Remember how...eclectic... Lizzy’s birthday party was? Remember the multicolored plates and the androgynous theme? The Hello Kitty and Lightning McQueen? Well, in keeping with that I bought red and blue party bags. It seemed logical to me. Each bag was filled with the same items: a pen that wrote in many colors, a stretchy lizard, and a ball that sticks when you throw it at a window. (Encouraging kids to throw balls at windows -- probably not a good idea...) All in all, they were gifts all kids could enjoy, regardless of gender. I mean, who doesn’t like stretchy lizards?!

Lizzy was busy handing out the bags. That’s when I noticed that she was giving blue bags to the boys and red ones to the girls. Huh. And then I noticed that, yes, the red bags are a little on the pink side. Double Huh. And that’s when it occurred to me that while there was an even number of “redish-pink” and blue bags, there might not be an even number of girls and boys in her class. Triple Huh.

It was right about that time when Elizabeth ran out of blue bags. It was Spencer’s turn. She called his name and reached for a bag. When she couldn’t find a blue bag she looked at me. I shrugged and said with mock confidence, “Sure, give him a RED one -- that’s a cool color.” You now, like Lightning McQueen...

She picked up a redish-pink bag and extended it to Spencer cautiously. He stood there for a moment, afraid to touch it. At that moment, I’m pretty sure we were all convinced that if he actually accepted the bag, he’d sprout long hair and a skirt. Indeed, goody bags are that powerful. She looked at me again and I smiled and nodded encouragingly. Go ahead, Spence. This’ll only hurt for a second...

He slowly reached out and took the bag gingerly with the tips of his fingers. There was a smattering of tentative applause, but there was no hugging and no kissing. Thankfully his penis didn’t fall off and he didn’t grow a vagina. Whew.

See, no problem.

That’s when Marco pointed at Spencer and said loudly what we were all thinking: “Ah, ha ha! Spencer got the girly bag!!”

Gotta love Marco.

I glared at Marco and tried not to laugh at the same time. Spencer was silent and quickly hid the bag in his cubby. All I can say is: Spencer, I am truly sorry.

But that was only my first apology.

The next came a short while later when I realized -- to my horror -- that I didn’t bring enough goody bags. And not only did I not bring enough goody bags, I was only short by one! If I’d been short by four or five, that would be one thing. But to be short by ONE?! To leave ONE kid out -- a new kid named Sasha, mind you, who was visiting Elizabeth’s classroom for the first time and already felt like an outsider -- well, that was too much. When I realized my mistake, I hugged him and promised him a great goody bag the next day.

Poor Sasha! Poor Spencer! I imagine them comparing notes later:

“So Spence, what’s worse? Getting the girly bag or not getting one at all?” asks Sasha dejectedly as he stands there bagless, tracing images in the dirt with a stick.

“Getting the girly bag,” insists Spencer with a scowl.

Sasha nods in agreement, then asks, “Can I play with your lizard?”

Misunderstanding, the emasculated Spencer shoves Sasha to the ground defensively and runs off to play Transformers with Marco...


Damn it all. Next year, no more Mrs. Nice Mommy -- they’re getting black goody bags with cap guns and jawbreakers.


Dawn June 13, 2008 at 2:10 PM  

Thankfully his penis didn’t fall off and he didn’t grow a vagina.


Bookdiva June 13, 2008 at 4:54 PM  

As Room Mom for Rory's class, I was in charge of the end of year party on Wednesday. Made a bunch of goody buckets, evenly divided between blue, pink, and orange (unisex color, I thought). Each had exactly the same things in them - stickers, glow in the dark bracelet, bouncy ball, gel pens, Woolly Willy (don't ask), snacks. I even made an extra one. Very proud of myself. To my consternation, the girls AND BOYS fought over the pink ones. What is wrong with these people???

myra,  June 13, 2008 at 7:52 PM  

this post cracked me up. poor kid with the red-pink goody back with the penis that might fall off. but i'm thinking i might boycott goody bags. where does it end?


Mumsydoodle June 13, 2008 at 8:21 PM  

Oh, how I remember the good old days when there were NO goodie bags. Who invented the blasted things anyway? Great post!

Rima June 14, 2008 at 5:44 PM  

The rules of etiquette for kid birthday parties sure are overwhelming. Faux pas aside, I must commend you on your choices regarding the content of the goodie bags - sounds a lot better than some of the stuff I've seen around here.

Lunasea June 15, 2008 at 9:00 PM  

I hate goodie bags. We have to have them for the parties but not at school, thankfully.

The challenge is going to make those boys stronger, wait and see. Either that or delinquents.

mimi of 'sexagenarian and the city',  June 15, 2008 at 10:25 PM  

god you are The Nicest.

my kids were 5 in 1990 and 1993, and we didn't have to supply goody bags for the entire class! -- just cupcakes. only the kids at the home birthday party got goody bags... everything has Escalated so much -- halloween, valentine's, birthdays! by the time your grandchildren are having fifth birthdays, their mothers will have to buy Porsches for each kid in the class.

ahh, but the gender differentiation will be there no matter what: blue Porsches for the boys, pink ones for the girls.

San Diego Momma June 22, 2008 at 9:30 PM  

I'm deathly afraid of goody bags...I never get them right. I either never have enough or I have too many and so I'm looking at goody detritus for months or I get the gender thing wrong or I get chokable toys.

I just need to give up on the goody bags.

This was a good cautionary tale.


Michele July 16, 2008 at 1:50 PM  

Such a funny story and so true. We had a similar goody bag experience for Zoe's bday party in May. Not enough bags so I had to come up with makeshift bags on the fly. It was a mess. Maybe we should all just skip birthday parties and go to Disney World instead : )

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